ABORTIONS among teenagers have reached alarming levels in Nkhotakota, where as many as six young women have to be assisted with post abortion treatment each day at the district hospital.
Over a month, the numbers go up as high as 30. “It’s a frightening situation,” said Sosten Lankhulani who is health officer of Nkhotakota district.
“Mind you, these are girls who have never given birth and they receive the services because they were involved in either self-induced or natural termination of pregnancy,” he said.
An unusually high number of babies are also being born in the district – on an average of 1,470 every month — mostly from first-time mums who are teenage secondary school students.
These alarming numbers are apparently as a result of ignorance of youth about sexual and reproductive health services.
The authorities are responding with urgent lessons for youth, with assistance from Banja la Mtsogolo (BLM) under its five-year Organised Network of Services for Everyone (ONSE) health project.
Explaining more on this, Lankhulani told the Malawi News Agency, MANA: “As much as our culture does not condone abortion, let us take it as a reality that it is being experienced in our day-to-day life.
“In such a scenario, contraceptives are therefore a good and recommended tool in family planning.”
Malawi’s 2016 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) indicators show that Nkhotakota is one of the districts with the lowest uptake of contraceptives, at 59 per cent.
The ONSE health project aims to reduce maternal, newborn and child morbidity and mortality rates in the country.